KEEPING

For the past two years, I have been taking photos of people taking photos on their phones. This series isn’t a judgment of this behavior, it didn't start that way, I am obviously also ‘guilty’ of giving into the light bulb urge to keep something right in front of me and take a picture on my phone or a camera, I'm often walking around with a few. It’s programmed in me somehow as a normal reaction to seeing things that make up my reality.

Looking at people who are taking pictures on their phones I have seen that there are those who seem to take more than others. I used to think that these people were trapped in their devices, unable to experience the real world but it could be that they see the world’s beauty just like me and are desperate to keep it and explain it, or just that taking a photo can be a knee-jerk reaction for any feeling, good or bad, for anyone in today's society.

I wonder, where are these photos now that these people have taken? Are they still being carried around in a pocket-sized archive, in a mosaic of memories, dormant, occasionally re-visited and scrolled passed in quiet moments, on the loo, in bed with a loved one or scrolled past frantically as someone tries to find 'that picture' but can't? 

When I first started photographing people taking pictures I saw it as humanity at its worst, getting in the way at galleries, missing the best bits at concerts, not appreciating beautiful things, the actions of narcissistic, lonely, scared, arrogant, shallow people - but as I followed people around who were taking pictures on their holiday or around London I started, kind of reluctantly, to become touched by the gesture and I began to see myself in them - trying, automatically, to keep what can’t be kept, what is right in front of me.